Congratulations to our 2017 Truman Gala Award Honorees!
Harry S Truman Award: Ken McClain and Beth Low Smith
Attorney Kenneth B. McClain is a nationally known personal injury trial lawyer and shareholder in the Independence, Missouri law firm of Humphrey, Farrington & McClain. In a career that has spanned more than 30 years, he has tried many high-profile cases and won numerous multi-million dollar verdicts several of which have made the National Law Journal’s annual Top 100 Verdicts list. Mr. McClain’s total amount of awarded verdicts and negotiated settlements since 1986 exceed $1 billion. His long list of community awards includes the Founder's Award from the Salvation Army, Best Developer (for his work reviving the Independence Square) from The Pitch, Citizen of the Year from the Truman Heartland Foundation and Lawyer of the Year from the Missouri Lawyers Weekly. The support that Mr. McClain has provided to local and state-wide Democratic candidates cannot be understated. Put simply, the Jackson County Democratic Committee is only as strong as we are because of Ken's years of generousity.
Advocacy and policy have always been at the heart of Beth’s work, whether she was serving the Missouri Pro Vote as a community organizer, Hope House as a social worker or her constituents as an elected official.
During her three terms as a Missouri State Representative (January 2005- January 2011) she served on several committees and earned a number of Outstanding Legislator awards from the Missouri Bar Association, Missouri Judicial Conference, Heartland Multiple Sclerosis Society and Partnership for Children. She also received the Torrch Award: Young Woman of Promise from the Greater KC Women’s Political Caucus (2003) and the Pillar Award for Outstanding Community and Public Service by the Missouri Association of Social Welfare, KC Chapter (2010).
As a member of the Jackson County Democratic Committee, The Honorable Beth Low Smith has shown a strong commitment to engaging her constituents and improving the connections between the local party and the average concerned voter. Leadership like hers will be critical toward keeping Jackson County blue and growing our base.
Senator Ronnie DePasco Community Service Award: Rep. Gail McCann Beatty
When Rep. McCann Beatty was 18, she was elected to her first seat as a committeewoman for the then 27th Ward. In 1992, she once again was elected as a committeewoman, this time to the 17th ward and in 2014, she was elected as a committeewoman to the 16th Ward. Rep. McCann Beatty is an active member of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus and is the Chair of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus Foundation, whose purpose is to educate and finance Missouri’s Urban Youth. She is also a board member of Jewish Family Services, which provides essential human services for people facing challenges in everyday life or times of crisis — regardless of faith, age, culture or lifestyle.
In addition to her legislative duties, Rep. McCann Beatty has worked for 25 years as a general certified appraiser in commercial and residential real estate at McCann Beatty Valuation and Consulting in the Kansas City Metropolitan area. She is also an Office Manager/Claims manager at the Holiday Law Firm Inc. since 2014 and has served as Regional Manager for Primerica Financial Services since 2004.
As the House Minority Leader, Rep. McCann Beatty is working to attract and train candidates all over the state in addition to her legislative work promoting Democratic values and fighting harmful bills that would further damage the working class.
Cybil Daniels Young Democrat of the Year Award: Kate Bergmann
Kate Bergmann, 21, is a current student of Political Science and Women and Gender Studies at UMKC. Kate currently resides in Raytown, Missouri. She has been involved in politics as early as the age of fourteen years old, beginning by phone banking to gain support for the Affordable Healthcare Act and volunteering for Robin Carnahan’s U.S. senatorial campaign. After starting college, she came back into Democratic Politics by dedicating lots of time to volunteering for the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign. Kate was a staffer for Jessica Podhola's state senate campaign as well as Judy Baker's Missouri state treasurer's campaign in 2016. After the 2016 election ended, Kate became a Young Friends Co-Chair for the Greater Kansas City Women's Political Caucus and is beginning to work with the Kansas City League of Women Voters. Kate’s passions are women and workers’ rights.
To learn about the awards and see past winners, click HERE.
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